Wednesday, April 18, 2007

All over but the shouting

It’s no secret that manager Charlie Manuel is a fan of professional wrestling. Hey, who isn’t? But as the skipper of a Major League baseball club, it’s rare that Manuel ever gets to ply some of the techniques used in the not-so sweet science of wrasslin’ in his craft.

Tuesday’s post-game press conference turned into one of those moments.

In an episode that seemed to be less than authentic and contrived on both ends, Manuel was goaded into a verbal sparing match by a local AM radio talk-show host. Asked if he had seen Cubs manager Lou Piniella berate his team and the media late last week and if he thought such methods were effective to turn around a losing club, Manuel, known as "The Red Devil" during his playing days because of his temper, responded:

“There are times and ways to do it,” Manuel said. "For me to just go in there and throw a fit - I can go in there and tear the whole (deleted) locker room up. I can come in here and throw every damn near chair out. What the hell? I don't see where that's going to do any good.”

Manuel was then erroneously told that his players don’t see him angry, which led to the manager telling the terrestrial radio talker to meet him in his office so, “I can show you I can get angry. Why don’t you drop by my office? I'll be waiting on you.”

Moments later an argument between Manuel and the radio personality was heard in the hallway outside of closed doors, which was followed by more shouting by the manager in the clubhouse before he was led away by coach Milt Thompson.

“I've been listening to your [bleep] for three [bleeping] years,” Manuel shouted.

“Grow up,” was the talk-show host's retort.

“I've been grown up,” Manuel said. “I grew up a long [bleeping] time ago, you [bleep].”

Certainly Manuel’s anger was real, but did he kick it up a notch so that his players could see and hear it? Perhaps. But when heart-of-the order hitters Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are a combined 5-for-32 with runners in scoring position this season, there isn’t much a lot of yelling and screaming can do.

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